Tech Leaders Can Do More to Avoid Unintended Consequences

In 1936, social scientist Robert Merton proposed a framework for understanding different types of unanticipated consequences—perverse results, unexpected drawbacks, and unforeseen benefits. Merton’s choice of words (“unanticipated” rather than “unintended”) was by no means random. But the terms have, over time, become conflated.   “Unanticipated” gets at our inability or unwillingness to predict future harmful consequences. […]